Monday, November 30, 2015

KEEPing On

...anyone? Anyone?

The Keep5e campaign continues. The party accepted a quest to take a magical exorcism scroll into the blasphemous temple/tomb I placed beneath Area A in the Caves of Chaos. The party dipped their toes into that dungeon much earlier in the campaign and got a bit of a spanking. They returned, and once again received a bit of a spanking in the form of 6 dwarf wights.

...and let me tell ya, energy drain is super weaksauce in 5th edition. You get a saving throw (DC 13 Con in this case) and the effects last only until you take a long rest. Laaaame. The drain itself also only reduces your maximum hit points. There still remains the peril of being drained to 0 hp by the attack and converting instantly to undead, but I don't think any PC was in serious danger of this...mostly the wights just kept critting with their swords. One could still argue that it went much better than last week's run-in with the hill giant and his ogre lackeys.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Being Someone's First...

...DM, that is.

Over the past couple months, I've been the first DM to three different players, including one who just played his first game of D&D in my Keep5e game tonight. A first level bard rolling with a crew of levels 2-4 who managed to make a difference in a combat with a hill giant by clever use of minor illusion. He jumped two levels by the end of the session, and good on him...most of the things they encountered had the potential to wreck him in one hit. He demonstrated a lot of ingenuity in navigating a dangerous shrine of Law. It was pretty ballin'.

At this point, the campaign has become less Keep on the Borderlands and more "PCs explore a bunch of dungeons I made up that surround the Keep on the Borderlands." They haven't been to the Caves of Chaos in ages. Here are the dungeons they know about:

-The Caves of Chaos
-Some kind of evil temple/prison beneath the Caves of Chaos
-The Tower of the Astromancer (slightly re-imagined Tower of the Stargazer)
-The ruined Old Kingdom dwarf undercity beneath the Keep.
-A shrine to the Seven Dukes of the Wind, located east of the Keep.
-A small mud hut village of ogres, dire wolves, and at least one hill giant
-A lizardman lair in the southern fens, though the PCs have never actually been to it
-A dwarf castle from the Old Kingom somewhere deeper into the lands of Chaos- again, this is only a place the PCs have heard of in passing, whereas the rest of the dungeons they have visited.


Meanwhile, other stuff, not necessarily dungeon-related, that the PCs know of:

-A ghost, claiming to be from the "Old Mage's Guild" has been haunting the Keep near the location of the present Mage's Guild. It has apparently abducted the Guild's alchemist and has challenged the Guild Grandmaster to face it.
-A man has been seen zipping around the skies north of the Keep on a flying carpet. His identity is unknown, but the Castellan would like to have him shot down.
-People are vanishing inside the Keep...random citizens who are here one day, gone the next.

Let's see what the PCs get themselves into next.


Monday, November 16, 2015

An Unlikely Find, Indeed

I was at the used bookstore yesterday, wandering the shelves. The gaming section is fairly well gutted unless you're into 4th edition (feh) or NWoD.

I turned the corner into the computer/video game section, and there it was, locked in the cabinet with the vintage video game stuff... was a print copy of Tenra Bansho Zero.

What. The. Hell.

First of all, TBZ is a roleplaying game, the pen and paper kind. It was published in Japan in the late 90's and translated into English in the last few years. What it was doing in the video game cabinet is anyone's guess.

I picked it up, if only because such a find is incredibly uncommon.

I have TBZ on PDF, and while I'm not sure it's the type of game I'd run, the book is goddamn beautiful and full of a lot of interesting ideas.

Meanwhile, I burn for a print copy of Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe, though such is not available to the general public. I was also thinking about OpenQuest 2 for the cover, but from what I've read, the interior artwork isn't very good.

But seriously. Print copy of TBZ in the video game section.

Ponderous, man.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Monolithic Musings

Let's talk about Raggi's big monolith.

...


First off, I almost quit reading as soon as I encountered the word "Lovecraftian," because I am so sick of Cthulhu crap in D&D (and gaming in general) that I could fucking puke. However, Raggi's module is only Lovecraftian in tone... you won't find Shoggoths or any of that other tired bullshit lurking within.

This is a module that can nuke your characters or your entire campaign world. There isn't much in the way of treasure or reward as one might think of such in a "traditional" D&D type game. The only way to really win is to not go into the valley or to turn back before you get to the Monolith.

It's still got a lot of interesting stuff in it, particularly the guest spot "Owls" encounter. I think I'll mostly use this one for weird encounter ideas.

I'm honestly not sure exactly why this one caused so much of a stir back in the day, unless this was the turning point at which his work became 90% push-button-ruin-character/game world kind of stuff.

Not a bad read, overall for the ideas.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Long Awaited PDFs

I picked up the new Old School Revival bundle on good ol' Bundle of Holding. While I owned some of the stuff already, having a digital copy would be nice. I'll also admit that I mostly did it to finally get my hands on Adventurer, Conquerer, King... I've wanted to peruse that for some time. I can also finally read Monolith From Beyond Space and Time and see what everybody was so rankled about.

My semi-irregular 5e games roll on. The "main" group continues to crawl slowly but surely through the old dwarven ruins beneath the Keep. The "secondary" group is in another series of sub-city tunnels. While unlikely that the two parties will meet, I need to come up with some sort of contingency plan if they do...I guess the players could play both characters at the same time, but there's a bit of a level disparity.

In a final note, I salivate for the day that Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe comes out on POD, and I kind of want a print copy of OpenQuest 2 even though it doesn't seem that different from OpenQuest 1, which I own a printed copy of already. The insane bibliophile collector in me has returned, and he lusts for printed treasures.

Anyway. Think I will crack open the ACK PDF first, since it has been a longtime curiosity.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Traveller Kvetching: This Time in Fiction Form

If the upcoming Traveller novel is anything like my last two attempts at GMing Traveller....

"These markings indicate the coordinates of a series of ancient jump gates," Galen said, tracing his finger along the rusted surface of the artifact. "As well as a date for when they are supposed to... reactivate."

"Reactivate?" Anara arched an eyebrow, leaning in over behind her companion. "That sounds decidedly bad."

The door to the compartment hissed open and Captain Valeren rushed in.

"Captain," Galen said, rising to his feet. "I think this artifact indicates a a great dan-"

"No time for that," barked the Captain. "I just got a sweet deal on those crates of Denebian spices! We'll be getting a three hundred percent return on investment!"

"Captain!" Anara said, frowning. "Didn't you hear him? The galaxy could-"

"Three hundred percent!" The Captain was wild-eyed. "And I think I found a buyer for those combat implants from Thedin II. We're going to rake in a fortune!"

"Cap-"

"The ship's mortgage isn't going to pay itself," the Captain snarled. "Now put this alien junk down and earn your keep! The crates are in the cargo hold."

The Captain turned on his heel and stalked toward the compartment door. As he was about to step out into the dimly lit corridor, he looked back over his shoulder, a nasty scowl carving itself into his face.

"And no more talk about all this ancient prophecy shit," he said. "I've booked us full on passengers and I don't want you scaring them with your tales of boogeymen and hokey ancient religions."

The doors slid shut, leaving Galen and Anara alone. The soldier glowered at the technician.

"This is not what I signed up for," she said.




Me either, thought the GM.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Deep Breath, Repeat After Me...

I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube. 
I will not take my frustrations out on my D&D group by killing them with a gelatinous cube.